Taking Your Workout Indoors

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
“What is the best machine for me to get rid of my belly?”  This is probably the most common question I get from clients and members of my health clubs.  You should see the looks on their faces when I point them to the cardio area.
It is important to know that we can’t spot reduce.  Meaning that doing crunches and other exercises for the abs will not burn fat around your waist.  However, you still need to do them for your health, performance and ultimately for when you get your body fat percentage low enough for them to shine.
There are three major components to fat loss.  Nutrition is paramount.  If you are not eating right, you will never get the best results from your hard work.  Resistance training is also extremely important.  This builds lean tissue, which in turn increases our metabolism.  To get lean, you have to burn more calories than you take in.  Which brings us to the area I want to focus on.  Cardio burns calories. It also helps to strengthen the most important muscle in the body…your heart.
I have written before about all the ways we can get cardio into our lifestyle.  You can ride a bike, go for a swim, paddle a kayak or go for a hike, just to name a few.  However, what do you do when the weather forces you inside?  Living in Michigan, I unfortunately have to prepare for extended stretches where I can’t get outside to workout.  Since I don’t want to hibernate for the Winter I do my cardio indoors.  At my health clubs, the most popular machine is the treadmill.  It makes sense.  Walking and jogging are a great way to burn a lot of calories.  The average adult will burn over 100 calories per mile.  Treadmills can allow you to go for miles at a time without taking up a lot of space.
My personal favorite is the elliptical.  It combines the best attributes of several pieces of equipment.  It has a gliding motion similar to cross country skiing, the circular motion of a bicycle and the stepping motion of a treadmill.  Combine all of this with the fact that it has almost zero impact.  Your feet never leave the pedals so there is no jarring on your joints.  Since there is no pounding from running, the elliptical allows you to work at a faster pace than you might when you walk or jog.
Now the next question might be “What is the best piece of cardio equipment?” Again, my answer may surprise you.  It’s the one you will use.  If you don’t like it, you won’t use it.  Go to you local Dunhams and try them out.  Find the one that’s right for you and make it a part of your regular routine.  Let’s make this your healthiest holiday season ever.
Cardio Guidelines:
3-5 days each week
30+ Minutes each day
70-80% of your max heart rate
To determine your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220.  Then use 70-80% of that number as you target HR.
45 year old
220 – 45 = 175
175 x .7 = 122
175 x .8 = 140
Target Range 122 – 140 beats per minute.
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